Schauinsland Sunset

Schauinsland, Black Forest, Germany, Freiburg, snow

The White Forest : Prints Available

Yesterday afternoon we drove up to Schauinsland, a mountain in the Black Forest above Freiburg, for a “look into the country” so to speak. We took a small hike through the winter-wonderland forest to the summit, where there’s a tall lookout tower offering a view over the Black Forest and the plains around Freiburg far below.

Schauinsland, sunset, Black Forest, Germany, Freiburg, winter

Schauinsland Sunset : Prints Available

We stayed up there for a few hours, photographing the beautiful snow-plastered forest and waiting in the howling winds for what turned out to be an awesome sunset!

The Original Wetterhorn

Grindelwald, Wetterhorn, moonlight, Jungfrau, Switzerland

Grindelwald and Wetterhorn : Prints Available

The nighttime lights of the town of Grindelwald shine in the fog, while Wetterhorn (3692m) towers above in the moonlight - December.

Last weekend we visited the towns of Grindelwald and Mürren in Switzerland. These towns are situated in the Jungfrau region near Interlaken, at the foot of some of the largest and most rugged mountains in Switzerland.

Above is a photo of Grindelwald, with Wetterhorn towering above in the moonlight. Not to be confused with the American Wetterhorn in Colorado… this is the original!

Mürren, panorama, Jungfrau, Eiger, Mönch, Switzerland

Mürren Panorama : Prints Available

The town of Mürren is even more spectacular. It’s a car-free town perched on the edge of a sheer cliff high above a valley (requiring a cable-car ride to get to), with the Jungfrau peaks towering another 8,000 vertical feet overhead! Perhaps the most spectacular mountain town I’ve ever seen!

Mönch, Mürren, Jungfrau, Switzerland, sunset

Mönch Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset alpenglow light on Mönch (4107m) as seen from Mürren - December. 
Eiger, sunset, Mürren, December, Jungfrau, Switzerland

Eiger after Sunset : Prints Available

View of the western side of the Eiger (3970m), with the north face plunging down to the left, as seen from Mürren - December. 

Obergurgl

Obergurgl, Austria, December

Obergurgl Morning Shadows : Prints Available

Mountains cast their shadows in the snowy Obergurgl valley - December.
Top Mountain Star, Obergurgl, Austria, panorama

Top Mountain Star Panorama

Morning panorama of the snow smothered mountains around Obergurgl, Austria, as seen from the Top Mountain Star hut.

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On Monday I left Itay and headed to Obergurgl, Austria. This little ski town is set at the end of a long, deep valley with soaring snow-smothered mountains rising on two sides. Tuesday was a mostly bluebird day and although there was not much fresh powder left, the groomers were wide and smooth, and I spent the whole day riding around the Hochgurgl/Obergurgl ski area checking it out. This place is impressive. It is the most beautiful ski area I’ve ever seen – in the sense that the mountains here are so perfectly suited for a ski resort. The mountains have a certain straight and broad aspect to them without any bottleneck valleys or useless flat ridges, and everything is covered in snow. Basically the entire slope from one end to the other is skiable, and the pistes could have been made anywhere on the mountain. And it’s nice and steep. This place would be mind-blowing on a big powder day… I hope to return sometime this winter!

I took a lot of photos and large-version-panoramas that day… see them below! Continue reading “Obergurgl”

Sella Ronda

This morning I woke up early and drove from San Martino to Arabba, enjoying the awesome Dolomiti views the whole way. Upon arriving in Arabba, I quickly reserved a room here, then immediately went to the ski hill! I had no idea what to expect, and was delighted to hear that the entire Dolomiti Superski area was open, and that I would be able to do the Sella Ronda, a famous and unique ski route that links four ski areas and circumnavigates the entire Sella Group of mountains via 42km of pistes and something like 12 chairlifts and gondolas (I lost track). This is a novel concept to me, and although the terrain is mostly cruising groomers, I enjoyed covering so much ground on my snowboard, and gawking at the incredible Dolomite spires and walls all around. And of course I found a few powder stashes along the way!

Here are some highlights from the route:

avalanche fences

Avalanche fences.

Marmolada, Dolomites, Italy

Marmolada, 3343m, one of the biggest peaks in the Dolomites.

Chairlift under a couple of the rugged Sassolungo peaks.

Chairlift under a couple of the rugged Sassolungo peaks.

Continue reading “Sella Ronda”

Cimon della Pala: Glory

Pale di San Martino, Cimon della Pala, Dolomites, Italy, panorama

Pale di San Martino Winter Panorama : Prints Available

Panorama of Cimon della Pala and the Pale di San Martino range on a glorious December afternoon after a storm has lifted.
Cimon della Pala, Passo Rolle, Dolomites, Italy

Misty Cimon della Pala : Prints Available

Cimon della Pala is revealed glowing in sunset light as low clouds thin out from Passo Rolle.
Pale di San Martino, Cimon della Pala, enrosadira, panorama, Dolomites, Italy

Pale di San Martino Enrosadira Panorama : Prints Available

Winter enrosadira sunset light paints the peaks of Cimon della Pala and the Pale di San Martino range - December.
Cimon della Pala, Dolomites, Italy, December, winter

Cimon della Pala Winter Dusk : Prints Available

Cimon della Pala illuminated by dusk light - December.

Cimon Della Pala: Redemption!

Cimon della Pala, snowy, Dolomites, Italy, December

Snowy Cimon della Pala #1 : Prints Available

This afternoon I repeated my efforts to photograph Cimon della Pala. I felt like luck was with me today, for various trivial reasons not worth mentioning but nevertheless noteworthy to me. Again I parked at Passo Rolle and skied up the ski slopes in the midst of the clouds. Sure enough, halfway up the slopes I could see some clearings and soon the Cimon della Pala broke out of the clouds in all its glory!

Cimon della Pala, snowy, Dolomites, Italy, December

Snowy Cimon della Pala #2 : Prints Available

I didn’t get the wild orange light and swirling clouds of Monday, but what the hell, I’m stoked. Is this an epic scene or what??!! It looks like some peaceful snowy meadows just got shafted by a pissed off chunk of earth!

Cimon della Pala, Dolomites, Italy, winter

Pala in the Clouds : Prints Available

The low clouds rolled in at sunset, but I waited for while anyways. They broke again later at dusk, revealing the Pala in the mist.

It would be cool if I could show a series of all the photos I took this evening. These are only a few that I picked from the batch. Throughout this week I’ve noticed how the clouds open and close around these peaks, and I know that this area would be a paradise for time-lapse photographers!

I’m finally feeling satisfied with my time in San Martino, and to be honest I am also at this point satisfied with dedicating so much effort to photography… time for some snowboarding! Tomorrow morning I’m headed to Arabba for the opening day of the ski hill there… hopefully there should be plenty of powder waiting for me!

Cimon della Pala: oh the Heartbreak

Cimon della Pala, San Martino, Dolomites, Italy

I am in the town of San Martino di Castrozza this week. I was here during my first visit to the Dolomites six years ago, and this was one of my favorite spots. The Dolomites boast many amazing jagged peaks, but the peaks of the Pale di San Martino range are impressive even by Dolomiti standards. And perhaps the most impressive of these peaks is Cimon della Pala, a rugged 3184m peak that towers over Passo Rolle and the town of San Martino far below. I’ve never seen a peak that has so many faces as the Cimon… depending on your altitude and angle of view the shape of the peak morphs into entirely difference profiles and characters. Here’s a photo of the same peak in the summertime, from a different angle, for example.

I feel obliged to mention that this beautiful peak crushed my spirits on my first day here on Monday… though really it was my own fault. Continue reading “Cimon della Pala: oh the Heartbreak”

Powder Binge in Cortina

Cortina, Dolomites, Italy, night, lights

Cortina Night : Prints Available

Nighttime lights of Cortina d' Ampezzo illuminate the mountains above town on a snowy November night. 

Today I scored one of my all-time best powder days! More on that below.

Anyhow, six and a half years after climbing via ferrate routes around Cortina d’ Ampezzo and the Dolomites in the summertime, I have returned… this time for winter! Yesterday I took a tram up to the Refugio d’ Faloria, a plush hut situated on the edge of a huge cliff about 900m (3000 ft.) above the town of Cortina. I spent the night up there, enjoying not only a primo view of Cortina, but also a slopeside location to kick off the ski area’s opening day on Saturday.

Sunrise on Cristallo, Dolomites

Sunrise on Monte Cristallo. Though it was dumping snow all day on Friday, Saturday brought bluebird skies.

Continue reading “Powder Binge in Cortina”